Tech tariffs and scarcity add up to big PC hardware price hikes, and Asus is kicking it off

Out of pocket? No thanks to Asus
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Through a slew of bad launches late last year, we saw retailers overrun with reseller bots and stock for a lot of tech selling out before it hit the shelves. Exacerbated by shortages in GDDR6 memory production, the thought of getting your hands on an Nvidia RTX 3080 or RTX 3090 without seriously connected contacts was out of the question for a while in late 2020. 

And now, just when you thought the market was settling back into a nice groove, Asus goes and drops this bombshell: price hikes, and plenty of them.

With the kind of extensive stock shortages manufacturers have been subject to, due mostly to COVID-19 restrictions and steadily increasing demand for tech, supply chains have been righteously shaken. It reveals just how sensitive the market really is, that we really can't take anything for granted. 

And I'm afraid to say today is another dark day for the average consumer. In response to a number of factors, including expiring tariff exclusions thanks to the fallout from Trump's 2018 administration (according to tomshardware), Asus is making a change.

Asus has already marked up the GPU prices on its store, and we expect other manufacturers to follow suit, soon after. It's not expected to stop at GPU's either, as the majority of the tech world is suffering from these setbacks.

Here's what Juan Jose Guerrero, the official technical marketer for Asus (via sweclockers) had to say on the matter:

"Update regarding MSRP pricing for ASUS components in 2021.

This update applies to graphics cards and motherboards *

We have an announcement in regards to MSRP price changes that are effective in early 2021 for our award-winning series of graphics cards and motherboards. Our new MSRP reflects increases in cost for components, operating costs, and logistical activities plus a continuation of import tariffs. We worked closely with our supply and logistic partners to minimize price increases. ASUS greatly appreciates your continued business and support as we navigate through this time of unprecedented market change.

* additional models may see an increase as we moved further into Q1."

So, it's really happening. B&H Photo has now also edited its store to reflect the new pricing, and the ripples are likely to continue across the—ahem—board (What? I'm just trying to lighten the mood). Indeed, other manufacturers are going to catch on, and they're either going to have to pull up alongside Asus or get pushed off at the next ramp.

The future is starting to look expensive.

Katie Wickens
Hardware Writer

Screw sports, Katie would rather watch Intel, AMD and Nvidia go at it. Having been obsessed with computers and graphics for three long decades, she took Game Art and Design up to Masters level at uni, and has been demystifying tech and science—rather sarcastically—for three years since. She can be found admiring AI advancements, scrambling for scintillating Raspberry Pi projects, preaching cybersecurity awareness, sighing over semiconductors, and gawping at the latest GPU upgrades. She's been heading the PCG Steam Deck content hike, while waiting patiently for her chance to upload her consciousness into the cloud.